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England V Greece: Rugby League World Cup – Live

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As always with modern rugby league in England, it’s a relief to see the teams out on the field more than 30 seconds before the scheduled kick-off time (admittedly less of a problem with 2.30pm KOs than 8pms where putting a newspaper together is concerned).

Bit of anthem action is imminent, and then away we shall go …

In the sole round three match so far, New Zealand put Ireland on the brink of a tournament exit last night after running in 10 tries for a 48-10 win that secured them top spot in Pool C. Ed Chamberlain kicked the Wolfhounds into a surprise early lead at Headingley but the world’s top-ranked team roared back with returning half-back Jahrome Hughes getting the first try, then setting up two scores for Peta Hiku and one for Jordan Rapana.

The Kiwis led 24-6 at half time and continued to dominate despite Jared Waerea-Hargreaves’ yellow card just before the interval. Hughes and Rapana scored their second tries, with Ronaldo Mulitalo, James Fisher-Harris, Kenny Bromwich and Joey also touching down. Will Senior went over for Ireland once in each half, taking his tournament try tally to six.

Michael Maguire’s Irish side are now facing an early exit from the tournament, unless Lebanon slip to an unexpected loss against Jamaica on Sunday in the final game of the group. PA Media

England’s Victor Radley, who has sent eyebrows shooting for the stars regarding his decision to represent the country of his father Nigel’s birth, will take to the field today in Radley Sr’s home city. The Sydney Roosters loose-forward, speaking in the lead-up to the game, said: “I’ve got like 60 people coming from all over the world for this game …”

Can you imagine if Wane had seen him as among the rotatables today …

Seven changes then for England, and some squareish pegs into round holes.

Wigan’s Kai Pearce-Paul and St Helens’ Joe Batchelor both make debuts, while Warrington’s George Williams is captain, as Tommy Makinson, normally seen hugging the wing, comes in for Sam Tomkins at full-back.

Jack Welsby, Mike Cooper, Andy Ackers and Matty Lees also come in to the starting lineup.

For Greece, captain Jordan Meads returns to their side after a bug, while Billy Magoulias has already flown home to be on hand for the birth of his first child (awww). The loose-forward was released early from his Warrington contract in June on compassionate grounds.

The teams!England Makinson; Young, Pearce-Paul, Welsby, Hall; Sneyd, Williams (capt); Cooper, Ackers, Lees, Batchelor, Bateman, Radley

Interchange Knowles, McMeeken, Burgess, Hill

Greece Taukamo; Mougios, Vrahnos, Constantinou, Mitsias; Ilias, Meads (capt); Tuliatu, Mamouzelos, Rousoglou, Zampetides, Kambos, Flocas

Interchange Nake, Sell, Katsidonis, Nianiakas

PreambleHello! More final group stage game action this afternoon, and after New Zealand’s canter past Ireland last night, Shaun Wane’s England are targeting three wins from their opening games.

So far there’s been surprisingly smooth progress past Samoa, a rockier but still-comfy-looking path beyond France, and now the time arrives to try and secure top spot in Pool A against minnows Greece. For the group’s bottom side, keeping their aggregate points difference below -100 – which would involve keeping the score to within 10 of the hosts – would represent an astonishing result. That said, news arrives that Wane has rung the changes, of which more imminently …

Kick-off at Bramall Lane is at 2.30pm BST.

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